As a teenager, I was obsessed with the Ida Lupino films, The Light That Failed (1939) and Moontide (1942). The former had the bonus of Ronald Colman, the latter of Jean Gabin. Ida was magnificent in both.
Ida Lupino in The Light That Failed (1939)
Ida Lupino enriched cinema with some of the most nuanced performances of the 1940s, only to outdo herself as a pioneering director and writer. She deserves that rarest of titles: One of a Kind.
Here’s to a glamorous and entertaining 2017, with an assist from Alice White…
Alice White Wishes You a Happy New Year
The talented and lovely Joan Fontaine was born on 22 October 1917. I love the WWII-era hair she is sporting in this photo from 1943:
Joan Fontaine, August 1943
The mesmerizing and incredibly accomplished Douglas Fairbanks the elder was born on 23 May 1883.
Douglas Fairbanks, 1924
Pro Top: The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks by Tracey Goessel is a fantastic book.
The talented and lovely Audrey Hepburn was born on 4 May 1929.
My very favourite Audrey-based book is Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers by Sean Hepburn Ferrer.
Sigh. She’s a hard one to say goodbye to…a brilliant actress and human being. More later.
Patty Duke (1946-2016):
It is a winter morning in New York City. Sidewalks are tightly stamped with greyish footprints from the previous night’s snowfall. The air is still, but figures fly by in an intricate choreography of mufflers and coats, hats and gloves. They whirl in shades of red or blue, black or orange. They are humans–city humans late for work. Office jobs, retail jobs, factory jobs. A variable soundtrack accompanies their undulating moves: honks, whistles, screams, grunts. How nimble! How determined! How practiced in the art of the commute. A typical day, then…
Winter in NYC
The sandy-haired gentleman rushing out of the corner store is having a typical day, too. But a typical day for him is, well, not so typical for even your average hardened New Yorker. Within 48 hours of this moment, he’ll almost get flattened by numerous vehicles whilst crossing an intersection, find the dead body of his boss, deal with an intrepid IRS agent accusing him of tax fraud, bumble his way through flirtatious encounters with a sexy secretary, meet with an eccentric client, encounter a “ghost”, and be arrested for and cleared of murder. Welcome to the life of Grady Fletcher, Mr. Hapless.
Dean Jagger, my fave actor and fellow Ohioan, died on 5 February 1991 at age 87.
Dean Jagger in Dangerous Number (1937).